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What Birds To Expect This Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Feb 01, 2018 at 03:00 AM


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(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )

Lots of Snowy Owls around this winter in the Quinte region. Photo by Derek Dafoe of Marmora  What has already been said about January can also be applied to February. As far as snow goes, just a few significant snowfalls through January, and opportunities to get out and bird were very good. February may prove much different. It is still winter and I am sure winter isn’t over yet!  Any good species that occurred in January will likely spill over into February. This month there are numerous RED-TAILED HAWKS about, along with the occasional ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and their presence is apt to continue into this month. This has been an excellent winter so far for BALD EAGLES, and more may turn up as we move into February. At least 20-30 are present in Prince Edward County County alone, and others are being seen regularly north of the County line such as Belleville, Madoc, Marmora, etc. A good spot to look for them is at the Glenora Ferry landing where several can often be seen on the ice. Prince Edward Point, Prince Edward Bay from Waupoos to Cressy, Lakeside Road, and from Prinyer’s Cove west to Glenora are good places to check for BALD EAGLES this month. The plethora of SNOWY OWLS (photo by Derek Dafoe of Marmora) that we have enjoyed so far this winter will likely spill into this month. It hasn’t been quite the irruption that we enjoyed in previous winters, but certainly enough SNOWY OWLS to go around for everyone. Up to 15 have been seen in one day at Amherst Island. Unlike two winters ago when a GREAT GRAY OWL spent several days in the Wellington area, none has shown up yet this winter, and they aren’t predicted to show up either.
By the second week of February we can begin to expect a few of the earlier migrants to appear. Seems rather odd to be saying that when snow of varying amounts may still be on the ground and some really cold temperatures some days, with several mornings last month hovering at -15 degrees Celsius. Early migrants such as AMERICAN CROWS which continue to remain through the winter in increasing numbers each year, will start to increase in population toward the end of February. Keep your eyes open for possible COMMON RAVENS as their numbers are exploding throughout the general Quinte region as the species continues its range expansion south. But even earlier than that, we can always depend on seeing increasing numbers of HORNED LARKS by mid-February, arriving on average in Prince Edward County by February 12th. However, through January, isolated groups of HORNED LARKS were seen throughout the month. The arrival of these migrants is separated from wintering individuals by an increase in number of these birds as they feed along the road shoulders in areas scraped bare by the snowplow. Their musical tinkling in the snow covered meadows is music to the ears at the time of the year when little else is heard in the way of bird song.
Trumpeter Swans are increasing in our area. Note the V-shaped border on the forehead of Trumpeter Swan (vs U-shaped on Tundra)  Photo by Ian Dickinson of BellevilleWaterfowl watching this month may be favourable if the frigid temperatures we had in January let up a bit. Many bays and lakes are sealed tight right now, but they may open a bit this month, providing areas where waterfowl can gather. In Prince Edward County we may expect some good waterfowl watching at Prince Edward Point, West Point at Sandbanks Provincial Park, Soup Harbour at Point Petre, and at the Wellington Harbour when conditions permit. MUTE SWANS that have been hanging around the open waters of the county since early winter will likely remain for the rest of the season. Surprisingly, there are still numerous TUNDRA SWANS about so keep watch for them. A few TRUMPETER SWANS (photo by Ian Dickinson of Belleville) are also turning up in County waters as a result of the release of a couple dozen at Big Island and Huff’s Island back in 2006. One has been at Wellington Harbour since early winter, and is apt to remain through the rest of this winter. A few may be breeding locally. Barcovan in the northwestern corner of Wellers Bay is a dependable spot to find these where two or three can usually be found.  The many thousands of CANADA GEESE that winter in Prince Edward County waters, will likely turn up wherever there is sufficient open water, or fields of unharvested corn, or corn stubble. 
GREAT HORNED OWLS will begin nesting in earnest later this month and they will be more commonly seen in wooded areas as nesting activities get under way, but this winter they seem to be nowhere common although a few can be heard calling early in the morning. The number of BARRED OWLS this winter seems to have dropped from past years when this species popped up just about everywhere. Still, they are around so be on the watch for them. .
Wild berry crops are good this winter overall, especially Red Cedars, so this has resulted in numerous AMERICAN ROBINS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS being around this winter, Despite the plethora of cedar berries, few CEDAR WAXWINGS have been noted this winter.
A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is coming to our feeder this winter. Photo by Jeff Haffner of NapaneeMany backyard bird feeders are enjoying unprecedented success with record numbers of MOURNING DOVES, BLUE JAYS and high numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCOS.  There are good numbers of RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS about this winter, many of them coming to feeders. NORTHERN FLICKERS have been visiting a few feeders in the County and a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (photo by Jeff Haffner of Napanee) has been at our feeder since early November. 
In addition to your own backyard, there are plenty of accessible areas to do a little birding this month. If you want to know what’s in Prince Edward County in any given week, be sure to check out the Quinte Area Bird Report, which is updated Friday. Enjoy February and help us in maintaining our ornithological database by reporting your sightings to Terry Sprague
As always, I am interested in hearing what you see at your feeder as well as in your travels throughout the Quinte area this winter. You can e-mail me right from this LINK. As well, don’t forget to tune in to the QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT every Friday for an update on what others have seen in the Quinte area over the past week.
To get a more detailed look at what birds are around, be sure to check the Friday night weekly QUINTE AREA BIRD REPORT. The Report includes sightings from not only the general Bay of Quinte area, but also from as far east as the Odessa area, and west to beyond Cobourg and north to at least Highway 7. Always a good read every week with one or two new photos posted with each new Report.
You can e-mail me with your sightings right from this LINK.

(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )


Last Updated ( Jan 30, 2018 at 04:01 PM )
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February 24, 2018 2:49 am